The idea that a woman's water must break before giving birth is commonplace. Often, it’s taken as the first sign of delivery. This article will detail everything you should know about a water break so you can be on alert.
What is a ‘water break’?
The amniotic sac, which stores amniotic fluid and surrounds the fetus, can burst, and this is referred to as "water breaking." In certain situations, how the water breaks can be different. It may be subtle, such as a dampening of the underwear or a feeling of wetness in your vagina or perineum. It may be intermittent or continuous leakage of small amounts of watery fluid from your vagina or a more pronounced rush of clear or pale yellow liquid.
How can you be sure your water has broken?
It can be difficult to tell whether the liquid dripping down your legs or other sensations are vaginal discharge, urine, or amniotic fluid. Since your baby's urine is present in the fluid, it may look like urine. There may also be some blood present, which is perfectly normal.
When you experience something similar, it is best to call your doctor so they can examine it to see if it is amniotic fluid or not.
Does the water break before every delivery?
Your water will typically rupture from pressure from your contractions or the baby, similar to a balloon popping inside during labor. Other factors could have undermined the amniotic sac if your water breaks too soon. This may result in it breaking or leaking before your baby is prepared to give birth.
Even during contractions, the water doesn't break. If you have a C-section delivery, your water may not burst until after the procedure. Very infrequently, the baby is delivered with the amniotic sac surrounding it. This form of delivery is called an en-caul birth.
Sometimes the water may not break before labor, so your doctor may have to do an amniotomy to burst the sac artificially. A slender, plastic hook is inserted into the cervix during an amniotomy to split the amniotic sac and let the fluids escape.
Although the hook can occasionally leave a little scratch on the baby's skull, this technique shouldn't hurt either the mother or the infant.
After the water breaks, what next?
Even when the water breaks, the mother does not necessarily go into labor immediately. Sometimes, hours after the membranes have torn, contractions can start. However, if contractions don't start within a specified amount of time, often 24 hours, a medical professional may induce labor to lower the risk of infection.
During this time, women should also take precautions to prevent infection. To absorb the amniotic fluid, ladies should wear a pantyliner or pad rather than a tampon.
What do you do if your water breaks before full term?
Your water may break before you are 37 weeks along in your pregnancy. This condition is known as Preterm Premature Membrane Rupture (PPROM). Doctors weigh the advantages and disadvantages of early delivery versus exposing the baby to infection and other complications.
You'll be taken to the hospital for observation if your water breaks before week 37. Being hydrated and remaining in bed could buy time because your amniotic fluid is constantly replenishing. Sometimes the sac break will naturally close back up. Others may require you to deliver your child earlier than you had anticipated.
It's normal for women's water to break before giving birth; however, don't be alarmed if it breaks after labor or contraction. Rarely, other causes can make your water break too early. Sometimes, your water won’t break even if you’ve been in labor for ages.
Therefore, you must meet your doctor once you suspect any water breakage. Watch out for the color of your amniotic fluid and its timing, and even try to contact the doctor once you feel it could be it.
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